Judge dismisses lawsuit over sex offender passport marker

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) " A lawsuit challenging a law that requires a marker to be placed in the passports of people convicted of sex offenses against children is premature because the marker provision is not yet in effect, a federal judge said Friday in a ruling dismissing the suit.

U.S. District Court Judge Phyllis Hamilton said it was also not clear yet who would be subject to the passport identifier and what form the identifier would take.

The Department of Justice has said the passport identifier provision of the International Megan's Law will not go into effect until officials have developed a process for implementing it, submitted a report to Congress and taken other steps.

President Barack Obama signed the legislation in February. It also requires that other countries are notified that registered sex offenders are traveling there.

The DOJ says the law attempts to address cases where people evade such notifications by traveling to an intermediate country before going to their final destination.

Opponents of the marker have called it a "Scarlet Letter" that would wrongly imply that passport holders had engaged in child sex trafficking or child sex tourism and subject them to danger.

Janice Bellucci, the attorney challenging the law, said she plans to file another lawsuit in a different district court.

"It really is our goal to prevent anybody's passport from being marked with a conspicuous, unique identifier," she said.

Hamilton also rejected constitutional challenges to the law that were raised by the lawsuit, including the claim that it would unlawfully compel speech.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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